6.4 The Future

The framework has identified the following key future research areas and issues:

  1. Collaborative approaches should be encouraged, both within archaeology, and with those working in other disciplines including history and the environmental sciences. The discipline needs to consider how it can best release the research potential of information from all sectors and address gaps in knowledge.
  2. Access to data should be promoted and creative solutions are required to record, make available and disseminate a range of types of data to different audiences. Digitisation of existing resources such as The Old Statistical Account (OSA) and the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (PSAS) offers an example of what can be done.
  3. Cultural biography should be more widely applied. This approach offers huge potential in recovering the life histories of objects (and therefore the dynamics of their human creators, users and reusers) both within a period of study and beyond, thereby linking the medieval into much longer patterns of behaviour. It also has the potential to link the personal scale to the wider landscape palimpsest scale.
  4. The existing material in museums and new material retrieved through the Treasure Trove procedure are a major resource of largely untapped potential. Addressing this should include systematic scientific analyses (such as the current work on the Monymusk reliquary) and dating programmes. Storage facilities are urgently required, both for existing analysis and potential future techniques. Monitoring of remains that degrade, and evaluation of collections to free space for better stratified, well-preserved material should be pursued.
  5. Given the chronological problems, priority should be given to obtaining large suites (30+) of well-contexted and identified samples in order to obtain dates from well-stratified sites with plentiful artefacts (e.g. at sites such as Beirgh or the Udal). This would be a very cost-effective strategy.

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